Being a BlackBerry developer has always come with a lot of challenges. Even in the Enterprise sphere it has never been a straightforward task.
As a developer I’ve questioned myself many times “is it worth it”. Even as a BlackBerry 10 user, I’ve always felt ripped off “having” to pay for apps that were not only free, but legal on other platforms.
However, with BlackBerry 10 reaching EOL, and BlackBerry World closing down, BlackBerry have reached out to their developers to inform us that BlackBerry World will no longer offer Paid Apps from April 1, 2018
BlackBerry, quite rightly, feel that now is the time to include the developer community in the overall shutdown of BlackBerry 10 as a consumer platform.
For developers with only free content, there is nothing to do and BlackBerry will continue to host and distribute your free content as they do today.
However, not only for the few developers left, but for any developer with a paid app in BlackBerry World, this will require decisions to be made, and some work to do, especially for those who still want their apps to generate revenue.
Every developer with a paid app needs to change their paid content to ‘free’ from within the Vendor Portal and re-list the application. If this isn’t done your app will be automatically removed in April.
Developers will still be able to continue monetizing their current apps but this will require some further development work, as you will need to code the payment mechanism directly with your app. This also means any support for payments, refunds, etc. will need to be supported by you.
As BlackBerry will no longer be providing payments mechanisms, there will be no required revenue split for developers who choose to monetize apps on their own. However, the company will manage refunds for paid content in BlackBerry World until April 30, 2018.
Quite simply, any developer still wanting to generate revenue from BlackBerry World, will have to make major code changes to their existing apps. How many will feel it is worth the effort, for a dying platform, remains to be users.
The full letter to developers
Dear BlackBerry World Vendor,
We wish to make you aware of some changes to the BlackBerry World storefront that may affect you over the coming months.
Beginning April 1, 2018 BlackBerry World will move to a free-only storefront. The result of this change means that BlackBerry World will no longer host paid content and all purchasing mechanisms will be disabled.
If you would like to continue distribution on BlackBerry World at no cost, please change your content to “free” by logging into the Vendor Portal. Any paid content not switched to ‘free’ will be removed from the BlackBerry World storefront on March 31, 2018. A few other things to note:
- For Vendors with only free content, there is no action required for the above-described changes. We will continue to host and distribute your free content as we do today.
- You can change your paid content to ‘free’ and re-list the application at any time.
- If you choose to remain on BlackBerry World, you will be able to continue monetizing your application(s), however, the payment mechanism will need to live within your application itself. This means any support for payments, refunds, etc. will be supported by you. There will be no required revenue split for Vendors who choose to monetize application(s) on their own.
- Refunds for paid content in BlackBerry World will be supported until April 30, 2018.
- Customers will still be able to access content they paid for prior to the above-noted changes.
We appreciate you being a valued BlackBerry World vendor and ask that you contact us with any questions.
Thank you, BlackBerry Storefront Team
BlackBerry 10 Users
If this doesn’t convince any BlackBerry 10 users still kidding themselves that BlackBerry 10 is not dead, I have absolutely no idea what will, but I digress.
The main thing to point out, for existing BlackBerry 10 users, is that nothing will change for slightly over a month, so there is no mass panic over what is going on. You will still be able to install and re-install apps as you do now.
However, after saying that, there is no guarantee that any existing paid content may be pulled by a disgruntled developer between now and April 1.
It is highly possible that users may see paid apps disappearing from BlackBerry World before then.
As long as the app remains in BlackBerry World, users will still be able to access content they paid for prior to April 1, 2018 and purchasing applications via the BlackBerry World storefront will no longer be available as BlackBerry will be disabling purchasing mechanisms in BlackBerry World.
Quite clearly, this is just another step in the slow, slow process of shutting down BlackBerry 10.